February is American Heart Month, so it is time for you to stop and ask yourself if you are doing what's best for your heart and what you could be doing to protect it from heart disease and stroke. Unfortunately, heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in Americans causing 1 in 4 deaths a year.

Fortunately, making some simple lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of heart disease. Make an effort to change your life and encourage your friends and family to join you in this heart-saving lifestyle.

Check out these four steps to prevent heart disease and stroke. Even if you only make one change, it can dramatically improve your heart health and save your life. 

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    1

    Get Out and Exercise

    Exercising just 30-60 minutes a day can help you manage your weight. Managing your weight can reduce your risk of other conditions that put a strain on your heart. So, get up and get moving. Go on walks, do some new outdoor activities, invite your friends and family to make it a group effort to stand up against heart disease. 

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    2

    Eat a Nutritious Diet

    Take control of what you and your family are eating. Make sure you are eating plenty of the good stuff like fruits and vegetables. Also, limit the bad stuff like alcohol, salt, and too many sugars. 

     

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    3

    Manage Your Stress

    Stress can lead to unhealthy coping habits like drinking and smoking which then lead to other problems and heart disease. Take a minute to evaluate your stress, are you always running late and becoming frazzled running out of the door? Wake up just 10 minutes earlier and save yourself the stress. Are you overwhelmed with your work load? Take the time to write out what you have to do each day to get it done in a timely manner and reduce your stress. 

     

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    4

    Get Your Annual Physical

    Go for that annual physical, encourage your family to get an annual physical, or better yet go together! Getting a physical can help detect little problems in your health that can easily be fixed before they turn into something more serious. Keeping your health in check can help you avoid life-threatening heart and overall health problems.